Editor, Times-Union:

I am writing this account from my own perspective, with assistance of the actual victim who asked me to write it. The reason I am telling the story, and not the victim herself, is because what happened to her in 2022 left her filled with shame, not the offenders of the event. That seems backwards to me.

On that day, she called her friends for help. When we arrived, she was afraid, alone, and very intoxicated. Her body was also full of bruises. She could explain some but not all of them. The first thing she said to us was, “Something happened to me …” However, she was not able to say what happened to her, she just kept repeating that phrase over and over, “Something happened to me, something happened to me ...” She was obviously traumatized.

We called 911 and requested help. What happened that day felt surreal to me as I watched and listened. I never thought getting help, following a possible rape, would be an issue, but I was tragically wrong. It took 32 hours before she was able to get a rape kit procedure completed.

She was met with disbelief from the male officers that something happened to her. They disregarded her, and mainly spoke to me and the other friend, about her. She was not accusing someone of something, she simply needed to know if she was raped, while intoxicated — being intoxicated in your home is not a crime, being raped in your home is!

Finally, after two trips to hospitals, numerous encounters with male officers of recounting her story that “something happened to me,” and literally begging to get a rape kit performed, she and I were still unable to accomplish this. It was not until we contacted local attorney Travis McConnell, that we were finally able to get to Fort Wayne (the only place that performs rape kits in our area) and she had the procedure.

If you are wondering what the results were from the kit, welcome to the club. She had to call the Kosciusko County Victim’s Assistance and speak with the advocate. The advocate had no idea why she was calling but told her she would get in contact with her about the results. To this day, she never heard back, from anyone. So when she saw the article about a “victim first” policy, she felt you should know how that policy did NOT work for her.

Melissa Ryan

Warsaw, via email